Neuenschwander Hoping To Repeat Past Must See Success At Anderson
HOLLY, Mich. – The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series will invade the Hoosier State for its one and only visit this season on Saturday night, and there's arguably no driver more excited to compete at the tight quarter-mile bullring than Chris Neuenschwander.
After all, it was at Anderson in 2016 that Neuenschwander picked up his first of two career series victories, leading all 60 laps in May of that year to deliver car owner Ron Koehler a memorable win – on Koehler's birthday, no less.
Chris Neuenschwander won with the Must See Racing Spritn Car Series at Anderson Speedway in 2016. (Chris Seelman photo)
The 'New Haven Nightmare' has also had plenty of speed at Anderson in non-winged competition as well, qualifying on the front row and leading 10 laps during the Pay Less Little 500 two years ago, as well as setting fast time during the most recent Thursday Night Sprints non-winged event at the quarter-mile.
All of that adds up to a tangible level of excitement for Neuenschwander entering Saturday's Must See Racing 50. He last competed with the series at Anderson one year ago.
"It's been a while," said Neuenschwander of his year-long absence. "We love coming to Anderson, though. It's a special place for me and for my family."
Neuenschwander's father Tony said that the team's return was partially about timing and scheduling, but also about honoring Koehler, whose health has struggled somewhat since that 2016 victory.
"The big thing about us doing this, personally, is that Ron Koehler has done a lot for us and his health hasn't been too good recently. His eyesight has faded a good bit ... and Chris and I wanted to run for Ron and drive his car in honor of all he's meant to our family and to Chris' career, especially," noted Tony Neuenschwander. "We love coming and running with Must See Racing; Jim and Nancy (Hanks) have always treated us very well and we're excited to chase another victory this weekend."
Racing at Anderson this time out isn't the only tribute that the Neuenschwanders have planned in Koehler's honor, either.
"It'd be special to win on Saturday, but through the wintertime, we're going to transform our Little 500 car into a throwback that pays homage to Ron as well," added the elder Neuenschwander. "I'm gonna redo that whole race car to look like his car, and we're excited about that because of the race and what it and the track mean to us. It's a special time for our team, for sure."
Neuenschwander will have a loaded list of challengers to get through, however, before he can park on the frontstretch and celebrate another Anderson victory. That list starts with three-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune, who is a five-time Anderson winner with Must See Racing and was victorious in the Must See Racing 50 last season.
McCune's nephew Anthony has been close to a win several times this season, as has Ohio's Charlie Schultz, who nearly won at the similarly-designed Rockford (Ill.) Speedway two weeks ago before being passed by Jimmy McCune in the final two laps.
Other contenders expected include Tom Jewell, Jerry Caryer, Frank Neill, Tom Nichols and Anthony Linkenhoker, who is making the haul up from Virginia to compete with the series for the fifth time this year.
Pit gates at Anderson open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, with hot laps rolling at 5 p.m. Qualifying is at 6:30, followed by racing at 8 p.m.
For more information on Must See Racing, visit the series on the web at www.mustseeracing.com.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
September TV Alert
Must See Racing at Anderson Speedway August 11th
Gerster Romps From 10th In Must See Thriller At Owosso
PHOTO CREDITS: Chris Seelman
OVID, Mich. – Brian Gerster was the fourth and final leader in a barnburner Must See Racing Sprint Car Series feature on Saturday night, holding off archrival Jimmy McCune to win the Laura Devlin Memorial Fast Forty at Owosso Speedway.
Gerster, who set fast time in qualifying, had to start 10th on the grid after the inversion but powered through traffic to take the lead by lap eight. He then held off a hard-charging McCune, who came from last after spinning on the initial start, in the final laps to secure his second series win of the season.
An exuberant victory lane celebration – completed with a wing dance by the Fishers, Ind., driver and two-time series champion – capped off Gerster's 21st career Must See Racing victory.
"We came up on some lapped traffic right at the end, and to be honest I was probably trying to run the car a little bit too hard," Gerster said. "We were getting a little bit free ... so much so that I drove off the end of the backstraightaway one lap. I knew the 88 (Jimmy McCune) would be coming. I'm not a fan of moving the lapped cars to the rear (on restarts), but we were able to nail the restart and pull away.
"The McCunes have been faster than we have been the last half a dozen times we've run here, so we came in here trying not to get our butts kicked and to come away with a trophy feels really good."
Saturday also marked the eighth consecutive season that Gerster has won multiple Must See Racing features.
"That's something that's a really big deal to us," noted Gerster. "It's nice to keep the streak alive and keep pushing that mark forward. It's hard to do in this field and to accomplish that means a lot."
Following the inversion roll, Adam Biltz and Tom Jewell led the field to the green flag, but contact off turn two back in the field sent McCune spinning to the bottom of the second turn and turned the caution lights on almost instantly.
The incident set up a complete restart, with Biltz nailing the start and leading the first lap of his Must See Racing career before giving way to Jewell on the second revolution. Jewell then paced the next two circuits before Biltz's teammate, Charlie Schultz, charged to the inside of turn four to assume command on lap four.
By that point, Gerster had worked his way up to fourth, quickly dispatching Jewell and Ike Beasley on the next two laps before setting his sights on Schultz for the top spot.
It only took one more rotation before Gerster was on Schultz's tail tank and the eighth time by the flagstand, he was inside Schultz's No. 9s and edging ahead at the start/finish line to take the point.
After that, Gerster led the final 43 laps en route to victory, though it wasn't without challenge in the final laps.
McCune got to second in 15 laps, but couldn't erase a three-second deficit to Gerster until a caution for a slowing Jeff Bloom with 17 to go gave the three-time defending series champion new life.
The ensuing restart put McCune on Gerster's tail tank, but even still, it wasn't until inside of five laps to go that McCune was able to pounce and close in on the 'Mopar Missile'.
As Gerster got swallowed up in slower traffic, McCune was able to cut a second and a half gap down into car lengths at the white flag, making one last-ditch effort in turn three coming to the finish line but falling .215 of a second short in the end.
"I don't know if he heard me or saw me, but he was running the high line and I was down low ... and he just did what he had to do and cut my pursuit off coming off (turn) four," lamented McCune. "Maybe if we'd had another couple of laps we could have gotten him, but I'm just disappointed that we had such a good start, only to have it wiped out by getting turned around there. Just didn't have enough tonight."
Twenty-year-old Anthony McCune completed the podium in third after making contact with the wall on lap two and having to rally from as low as 10th. Jason Blonde and Ike Beasley were fourth and fifth.
Schultz, Doug Dietsch, Jerry Caryer, Jewell and Biltz completed the top 10 at the finish.
Gerster became the seventh different fast qualifier in nine races during time trials at the start of the night, earning his 27th career fast time with a lap of 13.439 seconds (100.454 mph) around the three-eighths-mile oval. Jewell and Anthony McCune won their respective heat races.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series returns to action on Aug. 11 with the Must See Racing 50 from Indiana's Anderson Speedway. Jimmy McCune is the defending event winner.
RACE RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Owosso Speedway; Aug. 4, 2018
1-800-RADIATOR/Laura Devlin Memorial A-Feature (40 laps): 1. #50m – Brian Gerster ; 2. #88 – Jimmy McCune ; 3. #8 – Anthony McCune ; 4. #42 – Jason Blonde ; 5. #97 – Ike Beasley ; 6. #9s – Charlie Schultz ; 7. #0 – Doug Dietsch ; 8. #75c – Jerry Caryer ; 9. #7 – Tom Jewell ; 10. #8a – Adam Biltz ; 11. #5 – Don Dietsch ; 12. #11 – Tom Geren ; 13. #26b – Jeff Bloom .
Lap Leader(s): Biltz 1, Jewell 2-3, Schultz 4-7, Gerster 8-50.
Hard Charger: #50m – Brian Gerster (+9)
Hamilton Trucking Time Trials (best of two laps): 1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 13.439; 2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.449; 3. #8 – Anthony McCune, 13.467; 4. #42 – Jason Blonde, 14.595; 5. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.618; 6. #26b – Jeff Bloom, 13.721; 7. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 13.740; 8. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 13.979; 9. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.011; 10. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.227; 11. #0 – Doug Dietsch, 14.326; 12. #11 – Tom Geren, 14.749; 13. #5 – Don Dietsch, 14.923.
Abe's Auto Parts Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Tom Jewell, 2. Charlie Schultz, 3. Jerry Caryer, 4. Doug Dietsch, 5. Adam Biltz, 6. Don Dietsch, 7. Tom Geren.
Abe's Auto Parts Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Anthony McCune, 2. Jimmy McCune, 3. Brian Gerster, 4. Ike Beasley, 5. Jason Blonde, 6. Jeff Bloom.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
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